Matt Pickart | Webster University

Matt Pickart

Assistant Professor of Music
Director of Chamber Music Studies
Strings, improvisation, music entrepreneurship

Matt Pickart, headshotMatt Pickart, director and co-founder of Clazz International Music Festival, holds a varied career as a violinist, violist, and pedagogue in multiple styles. He has the distinct honor and privilege of having been able to perform at both Jazz at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Music Hall's Weill Recital Hall. Other career highlights include performances with The Who, Barry Manilow on tour, Bernadette Peters, the Vogues, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, the Beatles Love Album Tribute Tour, Premier Swingtett at the B-flat in Berlin, Ritmo Flamenco in Toronto, and the Swingadje Ensemble as featured soloist on three German tours 2013-2015. His recordings have been broadcast on Milwaukee's WMSE, Pittsburgh's WQED, Lansing's WKAR, and National Russian Radio. In 2018 he was named an honorary artist of the Global Music Partnership.

As a soloist, he has appeared with orchestras in the USA, Italy, and the Netherlands. During the 2018-2019 season, he opened Beloit Janesville Symphony Orchestra's 65th Season as guest soloist for the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto; performed Dittersdorf's Sinfonia Concertante for Double Bass and Viola with Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra's principal bassist Erik Harris and the Webster University Orchestra; made his conducting debut while performing Telemann Viola Concerto with the Turtle Creek Chamber Orchestra; and performed alongside Grammy-nominated jazz violin wizard Jeremy Cohen, in the premiere of his piece Arcidosso Blues in Arcidosso, Italy. The upcoming year holds concerto appearances in Saint Louis and Toronto.

As a chamber musician, Mr. Pickart studied with members of the Pro Arte Quartet, the Verdehr Trio, and the Fine Arts Quartet. He currently performs as violist of the Clazz String Quartet and as violinist and violist in the Beloit Duo. He has performed as a guest with Grammy nominated Quartet San Francisco, Chamber Project Saint Louis, Pittsburgh Classical Revolution, and in collaboration with members of the Saint Louis and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestras. He has been featured in chamber music programs at Cremona Summer Music Festival, Tennessee Governor School for the Arts, Lansing Symphony Chamber Music Series, Absolute Chamber Series, Renova Music Festival, and the Interharmony International Music Festival. This year he will give two recitals as part of Webster University Signature Series: Vieuxtemps: A Life in Music with pianist Daniel Schene, and a Retrospective of E.C. Schirmer Publishing with pianist Mieko Hironaka Bergt; as well as several other collaborative performances at Webster University. In the spring of 2020, he will join the Esterhazy Quartet as a guest violist in performances of Beethoven's String Quintet in C major at the University of Missouri and Webster University, in celebration of his 250th year.

Pickart has performed with many orchestras as a leader, including as concertmaster of Pittsburgh Philharmonic and principal viola of the International Chamber Soloists. As a student he was concertmaster and or principal violist at all three of his alma maters: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Duquesne University, and Michigan State University. In 2013, he performed as principal violist of the Shirley Givens Alumni Orchestra at Julliard's Paul Hall.

As a section player, he has played with premiere ensembles, including the Pittsburgh Opera Orchestra and the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. In addition to classical music, Pickart has performed and recorded in multiple genres including jazz, blues, bluegrass, choro, mariachi, punk, folk, rock, tango, hip hop, flamenco, country, indie rock, and celtic. He believes that it's important for all musicians to be diverse and to know how to improvise and navigate in different styles of music. Outside of his classical playing, he is most at home with jazz though. He was the violinist and vocalist of the Hot Club of Pittsburgh and a founding member of the Pittsburgh classical/jazz project, the Groove Aesthetic and genre-bending group, the Matt Murchison Mutiny. He has also been critically acclaimed for his performances throughout Germany with the Swingadje Ensemble and the Premier Swingtett. In 2013, Mr. Pickart was a featured artist at Jazzstadt Stuttgart. He has also participated in several masterclasses and performances with some of the greatest jazz string players of our time. In the Spring 2020, he will premiere his new group, the Hot Club of Webster.

In 2016, Mr. Pickart created the Clazz International Music Festival in Arcidosso, Italy, as an opportunity for classically trained musicians to learn how to improvise through the context of jazz. Now approaching its fifth summer, Clazz has evolved into a fifteen-day summer educational program, integrating classical and jazz music, and incorporating both internationally recognized jazz and classical faculty including Grammy award winners, top crossover artists, soloists, and leading orchestral players. More information can be accessed at: . 

Also active in new music, Mr. Pickart has worked closely with leading composers such as David Stock, Ivette Herryman-Rodriguez, Daniel Perttu, David Werfelmann, Kim Portnoy, and Zhou Tian. In the spring of 2017, he performed as viola soloist for Steven Mackey's 2007 concerto Groundswell with the Michigan State University's new music ensemble, Musique 21.

Mr. Pickart is lucky to count some of the great luminaries of the music world, among his teachers, such as: Sidney Harth (legendary American concertmaster); Yuri Gandelsman (former principal violist of Israel Philharmonic); and Rodney Whitaker (former bassist of Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.) Other former teachers include Walter Verdehr, Charles Stegeman, Tyrone Greive, Eugene Purdue, Alison Jewer, and Tom Moore on violin; and Marylène Gingras-Roy on viola. He has taken additional lessons with Noah Bendix-Balgley, Choong-Jin Chang, Charles Pikler, and Jacques Israelievitch among others; and has played in masterclasses for a wide variety of artists including Midori, Joan Tower, and Christian Howes. Mr. Pickart is Assistant Professor of Music at Webster University in Saint Louis, where he teaches violin, viola, improvisation, and music entrepreneurship. He also serves on faculty of the Webster University Community Music School. During the summers, Pickart is busy teaching at University of Wisconsin-Madison's Summer Music Clinic, Webster University Community Music School Chamber Music Encounter, Missouri Chamber Music Festival Pro-Am Intensive, as well as his own Clazz International Music Festival.

Prior to coming to Webster University, he served on the faculty of Beloit College, Michigan State University Community Music School, and Duquesne University's City Music Center, among numerous other programs. As a testament to Professor Pickart's pedagogy, several of his former students, have entered the profession, teaching and playing. For further information please go to

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